South African pubcaster SABC is moving forward with plans to implement a local content quota of 90%, according to COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Motsoeneng announced a host of measures meant to shore up the floundering pubcaster, including a new programming schedule and a logo redesign for its struggling SABC3 web.
Most controversial was the decision to drop a number of foreign hits, including “Days of Our Lives,” “Survivor,” and “The Office,” which prompted a social-media backlash.
Motsoeneng, who’s been a polarizing figure during his tenure at the SABC, defended the decision to axe most of the pubcaster’s foreign slate.
“The reality is international content isn’t doing well for the SABC,” he said.
Speaking alongside SABC execs, Motsoeneng reiterated his commitment to drive growth in South Africa’s TV sector, noting that the pubcaster had already set aside a budget of R600 million (around $40 million) to fund local content.
Earlier this year, the SABC introduced a similar 90% quota for local content across its 18 radio stations.
While that decision was widely praised by South African musicians, TV industry insiders say it’s unlikely that the country has the capacity to create enough high-quality content to meet the quota’s target, especially given the cheaper cost of licensing foreign programs.
The SABC’s ramped-up budget, writes TV critic Thinus Ferreira, “will not be enough to fill and sustain a 90% local content programming strategy for the three channels without compromising quality and a much higher that usual repeat and rebroadcast frequency.”